Florida is the most likely team to win the NCAA basketball tourney at 16%, but that is not very high and that is not why you are reading this article. You want to fill out a bracket and here are my easy tips.
1) The smaller the group with which you are competing, the less deviations from expectations. Do not try to pick too many upsets, because you do not need too many upsets to win. Upsets, by definition, are less likely to happen.
2) There are more than enough surprises in my numbers for you to be competitive in your bracket.
South Region: Florida (1) is heavily likely to win the South.
East Region: Michigan State (4) is favored to come out of the East and Virginia (1) as second most likely. They play in the Sweet Sixteen. I have Villanova (2) as slightly more competitive than Iowa St. (3) in the bottom half of the region.
West Region: Arizona (1) is heavily likely to win the West.
Midwest Region: I have Louisville (4) is favored to come out of the Midwest with Wichita St. (1) as second most likely. Again, since this is a 4 versus 1 situation, they will meet in the Sweet Sixteen. That leaves Duke (3) as the most likely come out of the bottom half of the draw over Michigan (2).
These predictions are mainly derived from prediction market data, properly de-biased and normalized to 100%. Why do we need to de-bias? Because, the much less likely teams are heavily overpriced at approximately $0.005 on the $1.00 due to the favorite-longshot bias. We use the same de-bias technique shown in the Oscars. Well, actually, we use that same forecasting technique for everything, we just update the weights by domain! (That explains our scalability in providing accurate, real-time predictions for so many things). In further posts I will talk about the fundamental data for NCAA basketball in more detail.